By now I think we all know that Ashley Graham can be more than relied on for keeping it real. The model has always candid about self-love, how her body changed throughout pregnancy and now, she's speaking candidly about her postpartum experience. Ashley gave birth to the sweetest baby boy, Isaac, last January, he is her first child with husband, Justin Ervin.
As well as previously posting about the hair loss she noticed after having a baby, Ashley has now addressed a commonly touted claim – that breastfeeding will help new mothers to lose weight after giving birth. Something that Ashley says she personally found to be not the case (and why that's totally okay! There should never, ever be any pressure on new parents - or anyone - to look a certain way).
"Everybody told me if you breastfeed, the weight falls off," she explained during a new interview with Parents. "Well, that was BS... I'm still working on like 20 pounds. When I say working on, I just kind of look at it every day like, 'Hello, new body.' And that's just kind of how I go on with it." Yes, Ashley!
As for whether or not the commonly held belief that breastfeeding can help you lose weight is true, the NHS website states, "If you are exclusively breastfeeding, this will help burn off about 300 calories a day" but adds that a healthy, balanced diet and exercise is always recommended. Breastfeeding alone shouldn't be viewed as a tool for weight loss - and remember, everyone's body responds differently after giving birth too.
During the interview, Ashley, who has worked with the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger, also spoke again about her postpartum hair loss and described it as "more traumatic" than actually giving birth.
"I think it was like around four months [when] my whole hairline fell out," Ashley said. "And that was more traumatic than even birth because I was like, 'My hair's falling out in clumps, what am I doing?' and then I realised it's actually a thing!"
A thing it certainly is, reassures Ellie Coldham, a consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic – and it's nothing to worry about either. "Excessive hair shedding does not cause any permanent changes to the hair follicle," she told Cosmopolitan. "However, hair does grow slowly (approximately 1.25cm a month) so the results of re-growth will take some time to become obvious." It can be prompted by major stress, having a vitamin deficiency or the drop in oestrogen that follows giving birth.
Ashley added that her skin also changed after welcoming Isaac too, "My skin got a bit irritated as well, and I had a little bit of rosacea that I had to combat."
It's keeping up this level of honesty that the mother-of-one says helps her to help others. For Ashley, discussing all aspects of health - be it physical or mental - is as important to her wellbeing routine as exercise.
"I like to share every aspect of my life, I don't want to hide how I'm taking care of my body, whether it's mental health, stretching, movement," she said. "Even through pregnancy, I wanted other pregnant women to know it's OK to move your body as long as you've been doing it before you were pregnant for safety reasons."
Ashley added, "For me, moving my body is like a big form of self-care and mental health has really been such a big conversation that people have been having, especially all through 2020. I just have found it incredibly important for everybody to talk about their journey and what they've been doing because it helps people who are struggling."
Keep speaking out, Ashley - we're so here for it!
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